Powerful cabal behind Benue’s huge wage bill, says Ortom
Imo uncovers 60 fake workers, arrests seven
Governor Samuel Ortom has accused a “powerful cabal” of milking Benue State through a huge wage bill. Speaking at a forum over the weekend in Makurdi where he was represented by his Special Adviser on Media and ICT, Tahav Agerzua, the governor noted: “The powerful cabal was behind the increasing wage bill of the state. The cabal manufactures and manipulates figures to milk Benue dry.”
He promised that his administration would soon smash and prosecute the syndicate. Ortom went on: “The state government is worried as to why the wage bill keeps rising instead of coming down in spite of deaths and retirements in the service. Again, measures have been put in place to address this issue, including biometric data capturing and salary verification exercise.
“We think that there is a cabal that is milking the state and feeding on the wage bill. But let me tell you, the Commissioner of Finance is going to address the media and make public the findings of the various committees.”
He regretted that the state’s wage bill had risen from N5 billion to N7.8 billion in less than two years, reiterating his administration’s zero-tolerance for corruption.
Meanwhile, the Imo State government says it has uncovered over 60 impersonators in Obowo Local Council of the state that had drawn salaries for over three years. Of the number, seven were handed over to the police for prosecution.
The chairman, Local Government Service Commission, Chinyere Uwandu, who made the disclosure during a chat with newsmen at the weekend in Owerri, said the discovery followed unscheduled visits by her team to some council headquarters recently.
Uwandu, who is also chairman of the state’s pensions board, accused the directors of administration and general services (DAGS) as well as treasurers at the third tier of government of aiding and abetting.
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